Towards a century at the heart of Connacht rugby

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Galwegians Pitch Development Fund Appeal

The return of rugby is now in sight, however COVID-19 and social distancing guidelines will place even more pressure on our limited facilities.

Conscious of this, the club committee are backing a creative solution to ease the load, namely the development and enhancement of our training facilities.

This will include the development of one end of our main pitch together with improving the top pitch sand area which will have a big impact on easing congestion amongst our different squads.

Naturally this comes at a cost, so we have set a fund-raising target of €15K to complete this work pre-season. We have set up a ring-fenced fund exclusively for this development.

We would appeal to all our members to please contribute whatever you can, to help provide this vital resource to our club players as they make their long-awaited return to training.

Our partners Clubforce have set up a Donations page to make this as simple as possible. Please click here for more info.

Pitch areas for development outlined in sky blue

Padraig Moran, President

Galwegians playing tradition

Call to Youth Academy Coaches, Managers and Volunteers

Joe Healy

Firstly, thank you all for your efforts over the past year. Whilst it has been a frustrating time for us all over these past months it has been heartening for everybody in the club to see the great work you are doing to develop our future Senior players.

Your role in ensuring that the young boys and girls in our care enjoy their rugby experience while improving and developing their skill sets is vital to our viability as a rugby club with the ambition to be competitive at the highest level.

It is, after all, only a few seasons since we gained promotion to Division 1 and there is no reason why the players currently in our Youth Academy shouldn’t be the young men to help bring us back there again in the coming seasons.   

We are in the process of finalising our plans for next season so for those of you who have an interest in coaching and/or management with a Youth Academy team for the coming season can you please respond to my recent email before the end of May with thanks to those who have already responded.

Please also get in touch if you haven’t already been involved with a team but would like to participate as a volunteer in any capacity.

Joe Healy, Director of Youth Academy ()

Seeking Women’s Head Coach

Who are we?

Galwegians Women’s Rugby is one of Connacht and Ireland’s most dominant and consistent Women’s teams. The Women’s Senior Squad competes in the All- Ireland League against the best teams in the country. The team also competes in the All-Ireland Cup and won the title in 2016, 2014 and 2012.

Recent seasons have seen Galwegians Women field a Second Team competing in Provincial competitions and allows players a stepping stone to All Ireland League standard.

Galwegian’s Women’s Rugby can boast within its ranks current and past Irish Internationals and are the back bone of Connacht’s Interprovincal Womens side. Connacht pro players Bundee Aki and George Naoupu have previously held coaching roles with the Women’s Team.

The Women’s section is a crucial component of Clubs social activities with a social calendar to rival our fixtures list during both the Winter and Summer months.

All of these components allow us to attract a good mix of committed athletes, rugby enthusiasts and novices to the game. We are looking for a vibrant, creative and ambitious Head Coach to bring their enthusiasm to this team

Who are we looking for?

  • Proven planning and organisational ability
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Understanding of a high performance environment
  • Minimum of three years coaching experience at a competitive grade.

Supported by the team manager, assistant coach, seconds team coach, team captain and director of women’s rugby, you will provide our women’s teams with the tools to achieve success in their individual competitions.

Your core duties will be:

• Plan the coaching program for pre-and-in- season training to support the development of player skills at all levels of experience and which will provide for challenging, active and effective coaching sessions for the entire player base;
• Execute the coaching program along with assistant coaches at training sessions;
• Evaluate match performances and training sessions with the coaching team and players and evolve the coaching program as necessary;
• Build and embed a process to identify and develop playing talent in both squads and regularly provide clear, honest feedback to individual players on how they can improve;
• Attend our Tuesday and Thursday coaching sessions and matches with the senior squad.

An IRFU Performance Coach Award (formerly Stage 4) or international equivalent is desirable but not essential (if you can demonstrate the capacity to progress and work towards this accreditation).

How can I apply?

If you are energetic and ambitious coach with a love of Rugby and are looking for a friendly squad with an ethos of success we want to hear from you.

Please contact our Director of Women’s Rugby, Ruth O’Reilly with your coaching
experience by email

Deadline for Expressions of Interst is Monday 8th of June.

Advice from our club doctor regarding COVID-19

I would like to give a few bit of advice from a medical point of view to the best of my ability. I would point out that I am not an expert in epidemiology, viruses or respiratory medicine but I will do my best to try and outline what is going on, what you can do to help yourself and others and how to get through this crisis.

David Bouchier-Hayes, Galwegians Medical Doctor

What Is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is a variant of an extremely common virus which has caused respiratory infections for many years. However, the difference on this occasion is that this strain is incredibly contagious and has a significant death rate or mortality which is about 10 times that seen with the common flu.  It appears to have been transferred from the animal community, as many of these viruses are, and originated in the Wuhan region of China. Due to strong trade links in the textile industry, it found itself being transferred to Italy and other countries and then has travelled throughout the world.  

How Does It Impact Us?

It is important to remember that the vast majority of people who contracted this virus will have minimal symptoms and will recover very well. However, a number of people will be severely affected and this is especially relevant in people who are over the age of 70, with mortality rate increasing as you get older. The good news is that we are starting to see a significant drop off of the cases in China, there are medications that had been trialled which look very promising and there are also vaccines which are being inflated and investigated at present. However, there is no chance of a vaccine being available qualified for probably 12 months, unless some drastic measures are taken, which may compromise safety for those receiving vaccines in the long-term.

How Can We Prevent It?

With this in mind, in the short term the best measures are preventative. You will have heard probably of the phrase ‘flattening the curve’. The idea of this is to reduce the amount of social contact and interaction so that when the inevitable infected cases arise, they do so in numbers and over a period of time that the health care system can handle. The problem in Italy has been that the rise in affected cases has been so rapid that the health care system has been overwhelmed. I have been in touch with friends and colleagues in Italy, Asia, Seattle, Australia and Germany and the situation is very severe in Italy, with the whole health care system of the North of the country being devoted to treating people who have been affected by this virus. 

This is why ‘social distancing’ is such an important concept. An infected person will infect between 2 and 5 people.  Each of these will go on to infect between 2 and 5 people, and so on and so on, causing exponential growth. This will lead to massive numbers of infections that will also occur here unless we reduce the number of people that we come into contact with. The most effective measures to reduce social interaction are to:

  1. Stay at home.
  2. Stay approximately 6 feet away from other people as much as possible. 
  3. Reduce all activities outside of the home to an absolute minimum. That means only travelling to pick up medicines, shopping for food stuffs, or to seek medical care.  Activities such as going out to dinner, shopping for clothes, getting a haircut, going to the gym or going to any social gathering including meeting up together in someone’s home, should be avoided as much as possible
  4. Simple hand washing is the most effective way of reducing transmission.  This is much more effective than use of hand sanitiser, it is also much cheaper, and easily available in your home. 
  5.  If you have to sneeze, sneeze into a tissue and dispose of this tissue immediately. If you do not have a tissue, sneeze into your elbow. 
  6. Something that I have found helpful is to always have a pen on me. I use this for pushing buttons on lifts, pushing open doors or anything I can use it for so that I avoid touching possibly contaminated surfaces.

What if You Show Symptoms? 

If you develop a fever, or a dry cough, significant shortness of breath or begin to feel unwell, at present the advice is to contact your General Practitioner by telephone. They will decide whether you meet the criteria for testing for the virus. In the meantime you should self-isolate.

What is Self-Isolation? 

Self-isolation is recommended for anyone who believes that they may have the viral infection, or have recently been in a high risk area.  It is quite significant and you have to spend in your time in 1 single room, with meals being delivered to you to the door of the room. You should also try and use a separate bathroom from the rest of the family. It is a pretty daunting prospect, but is extremely effective.

In general, the best rule of thumb advice that I can give in relation to reducing transmission of this virus is to think you have yourself in the situation that you actually have the virus and trying not to give it to anyone else, as opposed to attempting to try and not contract the virus.  If you act as if you are contagious, you will be going a huge way forward towards reducing your risks of becoming infected.

Coping Strategies & Mental Health

Another area that is of significance is that of physical and mental well-being. The areas of keeping fit etc will be addressed by other contributors within our club, but I might give a small word in relation to mental health. This is a crisis of unprecedented proportions.  It may appear that nature and this virus has defeated us, despite our robust economies, lack of poverty and technological achievements.  However, all of these things will work very much in our favour to ensure a resolution of this crisis.  Please note that the number of recovered patients is also rising exponentially, and they will help confer immunity in our communities. 

Choose Information Sources Wisely

In the meantime, it is worthwhile trying to avoid bombarding yourself on a minute to minute basis with the ever changing details of the crisis. This will only lead to information overload and can be emotionally very difficult to handle. Take a break from social media, and try and concentrate on something else. I would recommend reading a book, binge watching that Netflix series that you wanted to watch, or playing games like Sudoku etc.  

Social media will convince you that the end of the world is upon us, if you let it. I would also only put trust in information sources that you respect and can trust.  I would listen to the WHO, and in particular, Dr. Michael Ryan, who is a no-nonsense Galwayman, who is at the forefront of defeating viral outbreaks for the last 25 years.  He is a straight talking, incisive man of action, and watching him on line will give you confidence that everything that can be done is being done. Also listen to the HSE.  They are coordinating the national response, and have many hard-working dedicated people there. There is not a huge conspiracy out there to ‘cull’ part of the population, nor was this a Chinese manufactured biological weapon.  It is a tiny, sub microscopic virus, with no innate will power or purpose.

Positive Social Interaction

While the dangers of social media are very apparent, I would also advise keeping in touch with each other. This can be done through telephone communication, WhatsApp groups, Facetime or any number of video communication applications that can be run off your phone or computer.  Humans do need some sort of social interaction, and to see other human faces and this is one sensible way of doing this. I would ask people to call their parents, grandparents and other loved ones regularly, and to keep in touch with neighbours, especially those who are older and live on their own and may be very frightened. 

A Hopeful Future?

To finish, I would like to point out that there is significant hope out there.  We are at the early stages of something that we cannot predict, but with everyone coming together, we can improve the outcome. Those of us involved in Healthcare will be dedicating ourselves over the next few weeks to make sure that this will come to pass. I myself have signed up with the HSE as a volunteer for when the system starts to come under pressure.  All of us involved in Healthcare got into this line of work primarily to help our fellow man. It is in a time of crisis like this that I believe that you will see the best response possible from us in the true traditions of medicine and nursing throughout the ages, and I promise you that we will do our very best to get through this crisis with as little damage as possible. 

How Can We Help?

Any of you with organisational skills, or simple enthusiasm can sign up as a volunteer via the HSE website. And when you are asked in 15 years time, ‘Dad/Mum, what did you do when the world was going down the tubes in 2020?’, you can say ‘I tried to help’.  No one can ask any more of you than that.  It is also a good way to fill your time during this lock down period.  I would finally say that, in time, this virus will recede, and we will pick up the pieces, and the bar will reopen, and rugby will go on.  And when it does, we will all be supporting our club with a new sense of pride and camaraderie that we all got through this together.  Stay well, my friends, and feel free to contact me by text or WhatsApp on 0868578222 if you need any help or guidance, and I’ll do what I can.

David Bouchier-Hayes, Galwegians Medical Doctor

Advice from the HSE regarding COVID-19

The IRFU has provided the following advice and attached posters for the corona virus (COVID-19).


  • Wash your hands properly and regularly
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve when you cough and sneeze.
  • Put used tissues into a bin and wash your hands.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Follow the travel advice from the Department of Foreign Affairs


  • Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean

Wash your hands

  • After coughing or sneezing
  • After toilet use
  • Before eating
  • Before and after preparing food
  • If you are in contact with a sick person, especially those with respiratory symptoms
  • If your hands are dirty
  • If you have handled animals or animal waste

If you have symptoms of coronavirus, phone your GP or local emergency department (ED) without delayDo not go to your GP or ED. Phone them first. If you do not have a GP, phone 112 or 999. Tell them about your symptoms. Give them the details about your situation.

Avoid contact with other people by self-isolating.

Galwegians 2025 Panel Discussion on Jan 22nd

Galwegians are inviting our Boys and Girls youth players from U14 to U18.5 to an exciting panel discussion evening in the Connacht Hotel on Wednesday January 22nd at 8pm.

The panel will be made up of former players who have experienced success playing for Galwegians, and other clubs. Some have gone to success with provincial and Irish teams, and in other areas of life beyond rugby.

The discussion will center their playing experiences, their preparation and managing their emotions in those “Championship Minutes” in the cauldron of competitive rugby, and other life challenges.

As a background to this event, Galwegians Rugby Football Club are setting out an exciting new strategy called Galwegians 2025. The objective and vision for the strategy is to build a solid pathway for our youth team players to become core to our senior rugby teams in the coming years.

With the exciting development proposed at Oranswell in the planning stage, which will put playing infrastructure in place to meet our ambitions as a club, the Galwegians 2025 strategy will put the pathway and support mechanism in place to help players transition from youths rugby to our senior men’s and women’s teams.

The strategy, among other things, will leverage the unique “Rugby DNA” in the Galwegians club that has led to our success in the past. With a clear vision for the future of the club, this strategy will bring together some of the best coaching and playing standards to achieve this goal by 2025, and create a framework for the future.

Over the past three years under the guidance of Joe Healy, Director of Galwegians Youth Academy, some best practices around coaching and rugby standards have been put in place in our youth teams, including coaches who are current and former Galwegians senior players.

The objective of that plan was to coach the “Galwegians Way”, to instill a sense of belonging to the club and its ethos, and to build a work-ethic commensurate with our vision to help payers become better footballers and people. The recent success of our U20’s U18.5’s, U17 and U16 teams is testament to the success of that work.

The next phase of the evolution of the great work done in our Youth Academy is the Galwegians 2025 strategy. The key component of this strategy are our youth players. We want to share with them our vision and goals for the future, and put structures in place to help those players achieve the objective of playing senior rugby with Galwegians.

To kick this off, the panel discussion will provide valuable insights into playing, preparation and dealing with pressures of rugby at a higher level. Hosted by compere James Heaslip, Director of Rugby and himself a former member of successful Galwegians senior sides. The panel members are:

  • Ruth O’Reilly Galwegians Ladies captain, Connacht & Ireland
  • Mary Healy Galwegians, Connacht & Ireland
  • John Casserly Galwegians club Captain, currently coaching Galwegians U14s
  • Mervyn Murphy, Galwegians, Connacht, Ireland and Irish Rugby Performance Analyst.
  • Jack Clarke, Dolphin RFC, Munster and all levels for Ireland, International Javelin athlete, current Coach to Galwegians U16 Girls and U17s Boys
  • Andrew Browne, Galwegians, Connacht & Ireland, current Galwegians senior head coach
  • Damian Browne, Galwegians, Connacht, Ireland, Northampton, Brive, Leinster, Heineken Cup winner, Oyonnax, Adventurer, and current Galwegians U18.5 head coach

LK Shields Solicitors announces sponsorship of Galwegians Rugby Football Club

LK Shields is proud to support one of Connacht and Ireland’s leading rugby clubs

LK Shields Solicitors is delighted to announce our appointment as lead sponsor of Galwegians Rugby Football Club.  This sponsorship further reflects our growing commitment to the region.  Galwegians is one of Connacht and Ireland’s leading rugby clubs with an active community of over 700 players and members.  It is a club with exciting plans for the future and, with an emphasis on supporting and developing young talent, it is an ideal partner for the firm. 

LK Shields is guided by the principles of access, opportunity and inclusion and we see all three of these values mirrored in the Galwegians male and female teams at every level.  Their vision for the future development of all players and the club is one which we share.

Commenting on the announcement, Michael Kavanagh, Chairman, LK Shields Solicitors said:  

“Galwegians are a leading club in the west of Ireland.  With a commitment to developing young talent and with an exciting vision for the future, I see real parallels between LK Shields and Galwegians.  As we continue to grow our team in Galway I am excited to see us partnering with such an impressive club and we look forward to supporting them in realising their ambitious plans for growth and development.”

Padraig Moran, President of Galwegians Rugby Football Club, said: 

“We are delighted to welcome LK Shields on board as the main sponsor of Galwegians Rugby Football Club. Like most sports clubs we are a voluntary organisation, and sponsorship is a vital source of funding to help us field over 20 rugby teams.  LK Shields is a successful and ambitious organisation who are committed to Galway, having opened their office in Dockgate last year. This makes them ideal partners for Galwegians RFC, and I would sincerely like to thank them and especially their Chairman and Galway native Michael Kavanagh.”

About LK Shields

Established in 1988 and with offices in Dublin, Galway and London, our firm has over 100 legal professional staff and a total of 150 employees.  We help our clients achieve their strategic commercial objectives and proactively advise them on harnessing new opportunities as they arise.  We are committed to adding value both in terms of business success and also through superior service to our national and international clients.  To find out more visit

For more information please contact: Emer Craig, Marketing and Communication Manager, LK Shields
E: T: +353 1 6385882

L. to R: Niall Beatty, Director of Development – Galwegians RFC; Cathal Hestor, Solicitor – LK Shields; Rory Gaffney – Galwegians RFC; Michael Kavanagh – Chairman – LK Shields; Padraig Moran, President – Galwegians RFC
L to R: Carl Blake, Junior Vice-President – Galwegians RFC; Cathal Hester, Solicitor – LK Shields; Ryan Lomas – Galwegians RFC; Michael Kavanagh, Chairman – LK Shields; Andrew Browne, Head Coach – Galwegians RFC
L. to R.: Carl Blake, Junior Vice-President – Galwegians RFC; Cathal Hester, Solicitor – LK Shields; Rory Gaffney – Galwegians RFC; Michael Kavanagh, Chairman – LK Shields; Ryan Lomas – Galwegians RFC; Padraig Moran, President – Galwegians RFC; Andrew Browne, Head Coach – Galwegians RFC; Niall Beatty, Director of Development – Galwegians RFC
L. to R.: Cathal Hestor, Solicitor – LK Shields; Rory Gaffney – Galwegians RFC; Michael Kavanagh – Chairman – LK Shields; Ryan Lomas – Galwegians RFC; Padraig Moran, President – Galwegians RFC

IRFU Concussion Reporting Letter

Dear All

As we have received a number of queries about concussion in the AIL I am emailing to outline the process by which concussions are reported to the IRFU (via the referees) and to provide each club with all the information they need to clear a player from a suspected concussion that has been reported to us.

Please ensure that this email is forwarded to all doctors and physios who work with your AIL team (men’s and women’s teams), especially on match days.

Please note that players who suffer from a suspected concussion should be removed from the field of play and must not return that day. Please see for information on recognising and managing concussion and for return to play guidelines.

All concussions should be reported by the team physio or doctor via the IRFU Injury reporting system ( This is a separate system to the referees reporting. 

Please find attached:

  • The process for reporting concussions in the AIL
  • The letter that you will receive (by email) when a referee reports that a member of your AIL team was removed with suspected concussion. This letter outlines how this player can be cleared to play if your medics believe that he/she did not suffer from a concussion.

The referee reporting system and the appeal system apply only to All-Ireland League matches and not to other competitions.

Kind regards 

Mairéad Liston

New Club Sponsor: LK Shields

We are delighted to announce LK Shields Solicitors as our main club sponsor.

We will formally announce this new and exciting sponsorship in the coming days, but we would first and foremost like to inform you our members.

Established in 1988 and with offices in Dublin, Galway and London, LK Shields Solicitors has over 100 legal professional staff and are one of Ireland’s leading corporate and commercial law firms.

They opened their offices in Dockgate on Dock Road in late 2018 and from here they service national and international companies located in the western region.

LK Shields have agreed to become the main sponsor of Galwegians RFC for an initial 5-year period.

Our particular thanks to Chairman of LK Shields and Galway native Michael Kavanagh, and we would like to warmly welcome them on board.

We would also like to acknowledge and thank our main sponsor of recent years, Cold Chon, for their loyal support of Galwegians.

Message from IRFU President, Nicky Comyn

Nicky Comyn

On my own behalf and on behalf of the IRFU, I extend my best wishes to Galwegians RFC  for the 2019-20 season and hope it is a successful one.   

The start of this season heralds the staging of the Rugby World Cup in Japan and I know you join with me in wishing every success to coach, Joe Schmidt, and his management team, together with the Ireland playing squad.   

This Rugby World Cup year creates a very busy season, taking account of Ireland’s women 15s team; the under 20s; men’s and women’s sectors; the fortunes of our provincial clubs in the Guinness Pro14 and Heineken Champions Cup and also the myriad club, women’s, third level and schools competitions through the grass roots landscapes. 

While by its nature the professional game takes precedence on the International stage, the welfare of the domestic amateur game is of paramount importance to me and to the IRFU.  

Having been chairman of the AIL and Third Level, I am acutely aware of the position of clubs and I take this opportunity to acknowledge the committed and critical role being played by our huge number of volunteers, who make it all happen.   

I greatly welcome the IRFU’s signing of a five year partnership with Energia, which sees the electricity and gas supply company become the official energy partner to Irish rugby and also title sponsor of both the men’s and women’s All Ireland League competitions. 

This year is the 30th anniversary of the AIL and the support being demonstrated by Energia is timely. It will hopefully give a lift to all clubs in the AIL, both men and women. 

I appreciate the struggles of some clubs at all levels and hope this season 2019-20 will be a special one.  I wish your club, its members, volunteers, players and supporters every success and enjoyment for the rugby year.

Nicky Comyn, President IRFU.

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